May 17, 2005
Operator of Amusement Park Ride Convicted of Reckless Homicide
From MSNBC.com: "SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. - An amusement park manager was found guilty Monday of reckless homicide in the death of a woman who was thrown from a ride last year, but he avoided a murder conviction. Charles Stan Martin was originally charged with second-degree murder in the death of June Carol Alexander, 51, who died in March 2004 after her safety harness broke on the ride, sending her tumbling 60 feet to the ground. Before beginning deliberations, the judge asked the jury to consider three charges — second-degree murder, reckless homicide or criminally negligent homicide. The jury took only two hours to reach its verdict. Martin faces up to four years in prison when he’s sentenced in July. He could have received up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the murder charge.
In closing arguments, District Attorney Al Schmutzer said Martin short-circuited safety systems on the swinging gondola ride at the amusement park in Pigeon Forge because he cared more about selling tickets than protecting the lives of his customers. “He played Russian roulette with everybody who rode that ride,” Schmutzer said." Story . . . [Mark Godsey]
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